Clinical Konta into last 16 at Roland Garros
Tennis

Clinical Konta into last 16 at Roland Garros

31 May 2019 / 21:17
Johanna Konta made history on the courts of Roland Garros but praised Lady Luck en route to her maiden appearance in the French Open fourth round.

Not since 1983 had a British women’s singles player reached the second week but the nation’s No.1 did so in style, a 6-2 6-1 victory over Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova as comfortable as the scoreline hinted.

Less than an hour was needed for Konta to rewrite an unwanted British record lasting 36 years but it was her own history that has proved most pleasing, previously failing to win a match at Roland Garros before this year.

But now round four awaits with Donna Vekiฤ‡ standing in her way of a quarter-final place, though the 28-year-old is keen to keep Sunday’s match alone at the forefront of her mind.

"I had a lot of things go my way," she said.

"I knew going into the match that I had to do my best to not give her the opportunity to have the time to play well.

"I'm really pleased with that. I'm taking it one match at a time. I'm really pleased to get through this one and give myself the opportunity to play another match here."

A delayed start threatened to derail her approach but Konta wasted little time getting going, an immediate break underlining the confidence from which solid tennis followed.

Kuzmova broke back but the two-game advantage quickly returned, while a third brought an end to the first set in less than 30 minutes.

The second set was to find the Brit even more clinical, a professional swagger enveloping her way to another quick break to leave the finishing line in sight.

Even then Konta refused to get ahead of herself on an unfavoured surface, with assured tennis continuing to flow as she looks to return to the form that saw her make the Australian Open and Wimbledon semi-finals in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Wimbledon is still to follow later this year but Konta is not done with Paris yet, wrapping up the win in 54 minutes to become the first British ladies' singles player since Jo Durie to reach the last 16.

A tough challenge in Vekic now awaits, an opponent for whom the Rio 2016 Olympian needs no introduction.

The two have faced each other six times with three wins apiece but it’s their 2017 Wimbledon showdown that remains the most memorable, Konta winning 10-8 in the deciding set amidst an attack of flying ants on her home courts.

Risk of a repeat remains minimal two years on, at least where the ants are concerned, but a performance of similar ilk for the No.26 seed would certainly do a lot for her 2019 confidence.

Sportsbeat 2019